When Obama announced his Jobs bill to Congress, he cited the Transcontinental Railroad as a historical example of a government investment in infrastructure. I was surprised to hear that the government was involved at all.
John Stossel, has filled in the blanks for me in an editorial.:
The Union Pacific and Northern Pacific — all those rail lines we learned about in history class — milked the taxpayer and then went broke.
One line worked. The Great Northern never went bankrupt. It was the railroad that got no subsidies.